GOOD

There Are No Ethical Electronics, So Buy Less Stuff

Americans now throw away about 130,000 computers per day, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.


In a piece on Salon last week, writer Andrew Leonard laid out the raw truth: There is no ethical smartphone. The sins of Apple's iPhone factories, where laborers literally and figuratively kill themselves in pursuit of faster gadgets, are well-documented. But the problem, Leonard notes, extends far beyond Apple. "For every smartphone manufacturer," he writes, "the model of globalized production is fundamentally similar."

Just as the problem isn't only Apple's, neither is it relegated to phones. Laptops, televisions, digital cameras, and every consumer electronic in between wreak havoc on people and environments at every point in their lifespan—save, of course, for when you own them. From the mining that yields their minerals to their assembly line production to, ultimately, their disposal, our devices make messes that leave people sick and landscapes pillaged. How do we live up to our moral ideals without having to quit our jobs and live in an off-the-grid, self-sustaining commune? The answer might be simpler than you think.

Keep Reading
Articles

Apple’s Brand at Stake as Customers Demand Better Labor Practices

Loyal Apple consumers call on the company to reform its supply chain before the launch of the company’s highly anticipated iPhone 5.



Even online activists get off their Macbook Pros once in awhile for real live action. Media coverage of problems with Apple's supply chain and labor practices in China, including child labor, worker suicides, and dangerous workplaces, has led to mounting pressure for reform. Online organizers from Change.org and SumofUs.org delivered over 250,000 hard copies of their respective Apple petitions to the company’s new store in New York’s Grand Central Station this morning.

At 10 a.m., wearing sandwich boards in the shape of iPads, Change.org representatives Shelby Knox and Sarah Ryan, along with playwright Mike Daisey, calmly climbed the terminal’s east staircase—at the top of which resides one of Apple’s most glamorous new stores. There, the three handed over several cardboard file boxes heavy with Apple consumers’ discontent and disgust.

Keep Reading
Articles

Fair Trade Isn't Enough: Our Unsolved Global Labor Rights Problem

It’s hard to argue that the global labor situation has significantly improved over the past decade.

More than a decade ago, Nike paid a huge price in reputation when it was caught selling sneakers made by children. In the past decade, most of us have come to believe those labor issues have been solved by auditors surveying factories and ensuring that the conditions are such that we can continue to by stuff with wanton abandon, without guilt.

Keep Reading
Articles